Rodents Of Myth And Legend

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With the advent of the internet, it is becoming easier and easier to achieve Chuck Norris status. It is amazing how few people check their facts. But when it comes to rodent infestation, you need to make sure your facts are straight. Rodents can spread disease and cause illness. They are a fire hazard and an unintentional vandal, when harboring in man-made structures. And, they damage and contaminate stored food. They are not, however, the things of legend many websites make them out to be. Here are some strange myths about rodents, followed by the facts.

Myth: Mice have no bones--that's why they can squeeze into tight spaces.

Fact: Really? No bones? This is laughable. Though it is true that mice can squeeze through openings you would never expect, they are still vertebrates--which is to say, an animal that has a backbone or spinal column. The reason those mice can get through openings much smaller than their bodies is because they are mostly fur and they have an advanced muscularly flexibility.

Myth: Rats can grow to be the size of an average house cat.

Fact: Um, no. An average house cat is about 10 lbs. Your average over-sized rat can be about 3-4 lbs. One website--presenting itself as a news site--boasted, "Rats can grow bigger than sheep!" But as it turns out, they were referring to the South American capybara, which can grow to weigh as much as an average man. Sadly, the capybara is no more a rodent than an actual sheep.

Myth: Mice grow to become rats, so kill them before they mature!

Fact: Like the capybara, mice and rats are different creatures altogether. If you put a female mouse in a cage with a male rat, they are not going to mate. And, even if they could mate--like a horse mates with a donkey--the offspring would be sterile and unable to reproduce--much in the way a mule cannot reproduce.

Myth: Rats are always aggressive, never shy.

Fact: Unless you corner a rat, they have no interest in biting you. Stop by a pet store and ask them about the temperament of rats. They actually make great pets. The only problem with wild rats is that they forage in dirty places and bring disease and illness into homes and businesses. So, if you ever see a sheet of rats running at you, don't be afraid of them. You should be more afraid of what they are running from.

So there you have it: the real truth about rodents. They aren't anything you want living in your house, unless they are a pet in a cage, but they also aren't urban bred giants with a bad temper that can squeezing in through a quarter sized hole and bite you while you sleep. That is good news indeed!

Tags: Mice  |  Rats  |  Facts and Fiction About Mice and Rats


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